My first Monday Blessing of the Season.
I often find bits of wisdom in unexpected places – like the Comment section of articles about education. Like these words from Oregon teacher and man of great wisdom, Mark Gardner (whom I’ve never met). In response to 14 things teachers should never do on the first day of school, he wrote:
I try to establish my commitment to them
more so than my expectation of them.
Although he was speaking of creating rapport with high school English students, his words apply broadly.
They apply to how I respond to close friends and beloved relatives. Or new acquaintances and estranged cousins.
They apply to how I interact with the man selling trees in a crippling wind chill. Or the lady in the express line with way more than 15 items. Or the exhausted child, pitching quite the lengthy and loud fit, being dragged through the mall by exhausted parents.
They reflect the soul of Christmas and help me see the giver more important than the gift and my guests more important than my traditions. They remind me that the season of each life is more important than the season of the year.
Mr. Gardner’s words about how he values every student in his classroom remind me of this: God values and loves every soul I meet. And they remind me that He wants me to value and love them, too.
Just like Jesus loved me – and came to Earth helpless, just a tiny one. How He left the glory of His home in Heaven to find His way into my life – and yours. Sparing nothing, not even His life, because He loved me and didn’t want to spend eternity without me.
So this first Monday of the Season, please accept this blessing of
I do hope your tree stands straight, your cookies turn golden brown, your party clothes all fit, your celebrations are joyful, and your drunk uncle behaves himself.
But more than anything, I pray we all hold fast to a loving commitment to others, without a bit of expectation.
I pray a selfless Christmas season will turn out to be the best gift we could ever give ourselves. I pray a selfless life will bring us more joy than we could ever imagine.